Information for new Volunteers

One Happy Family Community Center thanks you for your interest. We are looking forward to welcoming you soon!

Before your arrival

We ask you to arrive during a weekend. This allows you to settle in and explore the city before our orientation meeting for new volunteers on Monday. It is really important for you to start on Monday, and unfortunately we can't make any exceptions regarding this.

Please inform us ( about your arrival date to Athens, as soon as you have booked your flights or ferry. For capacity reasons the team can’t pick you up. You can take the bus, metro or taxi from the airport to the center. 


We are happy to support you in finding accommodation. In your Zoom interview you will be informed about different housing options in Athens city center.


We ask our volunteers to cover their living costs during their volunteer placement.


While packing your bag, please make sure that you pack appropriate clothes. Since we work with people from different cultures, bring clothes that cover shoulders and knees and that are not too revealing. Note that the summer months can be extremely hot, and winter months cold, windy, rainy and occassionally snowy. Please make sure to bring comfortable and light working clothes. 

Registration & background check

We register all our volunteers at the relevant authorities. On this account we ask you for your information in our application form (the passport-copy). Thus, you don’t have to bother with your volunteer registration. Please send your criminal record check, after we confirm your stay at OHF, to the volunteer coordinator.

Code of Conduct and Safeguarding

We ask all our volunteers to read and sign our code of conduct once they arrive. Please read this document beforehand.

All our team members are also required to complete a short online Safeguarding course. After the confirmation of your volunteer placement, you'll be informed about the course and will need to send the completion certificate to the volunteer coordinator before you start working at OHF. 

Arrive informed and prepared

We advise our volunteers to inform themselves in detail about the current situation in the refugee crisis before their arrival. We will prepare you for your work at OHF in the orientation meeting. Nevertheless, it is essential for you to know about the bigger picture of your work and contribution.

Please note that One Happy Family is depending on private donations and operating in a fragile environment. In case of the project being closed for financial or situational reasons, we will support you in finding another organisation on Lesvos or on the mainland. 

If you consider vaccination, measles-muss-rubella, tetanus and hepatitis might be studied. As we work with a vulnerable group, we require a COVID-19 certificate as well. 

Your arrival

Please get in contact with us before your departure ( if you have any questions.

During your stay


A lot of the communication on the ground is via WhatsApp. Therefore we ask you to have internet wherever you are. We advise you to buy a Greek SIM for your mobile. They are obtainable in every mobile store in the city and cost about 10-15€ per month. This credit allows you to make free phone calls to other Greek numbers of the same provider and to use the internet.


We start every morning at 09:00 with the shuttle to OHF and arrive to the city center at around 17:30 in the evening. These are the four stops, where we meet to drive to OHF:

At the community center, we meet at 09:30 to plan the day, clean and get ready for the day and discuss the pending tasks together. On Saturdays and Sundays OHF is closed.

The general idea is to have our different activities offered by our international volunteers and our community volunteers together. We always need help in projects like kids' activities, at registration and information points, at the café, etc. Please find more information about our projects on our homepage

If you are interested in volunteering with us as a mid- or long-term, you'll have long-term responsibilities according to the project's needs and your skills and interests. Even without previous experience in working with refugees, you have the chance to offer your skills for example in IT, social media, graphic design, arts activities, etc. As a volunteer with long-term responsibilities, you will still have the opportunity to help in our daily projects.

New projects are always welcome. At our orientation meeting you will be informed about current projects and we will ask you to contribute your ideas throughout your stay at regular 1:1 talks as well as group meetings.


At the orientation meeting you will also get to know our volunteer guidelines and discuss challenges of humanitarian work. The aim of the guidelines is to create a safe space, to protect our team members and beneficiaries, and ensure the quality of our community center.

We always try to support our volunteers as well as possible. Nevertheless, we can’t have our eyes and ears everywhere, so we ask you to listen to yourself and seek help if needed. We work in an environment in which people could lose their patience, their hope and their mind. People could become thin-skinned and very temperamental. Be aware of these facts in your daily work at OHF.

Please contact the volunteer coordinator if you feel uncomfortable, insecure or over-strained by any situation.

Greek Dictionary

Here are some basic Greek words and sentences:

English Greek Transliteration Pronunciation (for English speakers)
Hello Γειά σου! Geiá sou! Yah-soo
Nice to meet you χάρηκα chárika Ha-ree-ka
How are you? τι κάνεις ti káneis ee-kah-nis?
Good morning Καλημέρα Kaliméra ah-lee-mer-ah
Good afternoon/evening Καλησπέρα Kalispéra ah-lee-sper-ah
Goodnight Καληνυχτα Kalinychta Kah-lee-neekh-tah
Thank you ευχαριστώ efcharistó Eff-kha-ri-stoe
Cheers γειά μας geiá mas Ya-mas
Sorry συγνώμη sygnómi Sich-nó-mee
Yes Ναί Naí Ne
No όχι Ochi Ochee
Please Παρακαλώ Parakaló Pa-ra-ka-lo

For more information, check out the following links:

After your departure

Awareness work

Volunteering doesn’t end with your departure. By sharing your experience with friends and family, you raise awareness for the situation in Greece in your home country. You can organise public talks (e.g. in your community, university and among your friends), use your social media and one-to-one talks. By confronting yourself with the harsh reality for refugees in Greece, you enabled yourself to make an impact and inspire people to follow your example. From our experience we know that most of our volunteers started because a friend told them about our work.

Please get in touch for any material or other support for your awareness work! 

For any further questions please contact us under

We are looking forward to meeting you!
Your One Happy Family team



Updated 11 months ago.

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